letterpress

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Craft Design

An Elaborate Paper Replica Recreates the Heidelberg Letterpress at Full Scale

June 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Lee Ji-hee, shared with permission

Following a meticulously built collection of meals and household goods, Korean artist Lee Ji-hee returns to a more mechanical subject matter with a life-sized paper model of the Heidelberg letterpress. Similar to her vintage film cameras, Lee’s press is a near-exact replica—she tells Colossal that she studied the original German model closely before creating her sculpture from paper and corrugated cardboard—and is complete with an array of mechanisms and branded details, including its trademark windmill feed and plates inscribed with the company logo and manufacturing information. The machine, which took three months to complete, celebrates the long history of the printing industry on Chungmuri and Euljiro streets in Seoul.

You can find more of Lee’s paper works, which include an 8-meter train, elaborate dishes and cleaning supplies, and a miniature model of Incheon International Airport, on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

Enjoy the Art of Printmaking At Home with This Tabletop Press

January 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

As an antidote to lockdown boredom, Sussex-based Tom Boulton designed a lightweight, portable printing press that brings the inky art form directly into people’s homes. In contrast to traditional machines that are heavy and bulky, the F-Press was created using 3-D printing and CNC machines and easily fits on a tabletop, letting users produce A5 artworks, greeting cards, and other type-based pieces even without access to large equipment.

Boulton’s press already reached its goal on Crowdfunder, although you still have one week to support the project. Head to Boulton’s Instagram to see some of the prints he’s created using the device.

 

 

 



Design

'The Joy of Type Design': These Massive Alphabetic Prints Were Created Using Just Four Shapes

November 30, 2020

Grace Ebert

Using the Brico System for letterpress printing requires thinking of every possible combination from A to Z. The simple method involves just four shapes to create typographic forms and geometric renderings, and it founded a recent collaboration between artist and printmaker Anthony Burrill, designer and printer Thomas Mayo, and Oli Bently, who helms the Leeds-based studio Split and the People Powered Press, a non-profit printer that’s the largest letterpress operation of its kind in the world.

Together, the trio created one monochromatic print of every letter, which span 1.5 meters. “With near endless possibilities of letter forms, weights, sizes, and styles, it was created so that anyone can share in the joy of type design,” they say.

The group is selling the monochromatic pieces to fund the work of People Powered Press—email Split to see which are still in stock and make a purchase—and pick up the book documenting the entire process from the studio’s shop. You also can try your hand at the Brico System with this simulator.

 

 

 



Design Documentary

Field Notes Launches New Collection of Letterpress Notebooks Designed by Nine Printers Across the U.S.

September 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

For its latest limited edition series, Field Notes tasked nine letterpress shops with capturing the diverse perspectives and histories of the nation through a pocket-sized design. United States of Letterpress is a pastel collection of memo notebooks featuring renderings of small storefronts, geometric patterns, and various slogans, including nods to the upcoming presidential election. Each holds 48 pages of graph paper.

To coincide with the launch, the Chicago-based notebook manufacturer filmed a short documentary, directed by Steve Delahoyde, capturing the processes and history of the art form. The printers involved—which includes Genghis Kern, Full-Circle Press, Mama’s Sauce, Brad Vetter, Springtide Press, Ben Blount, Erin Beckloff, Rick Griffith, and Starshaped Press—speak to the generosity of the printing community, the challenges of the medium, and the endurance of traditional type and equipment. They also details the tactile process of designing and creating their contributions.

For the special collection, Field Notes sent the independent printers cover paper in a different color and asked them to use the same two inks, Rhubine Red and Process Blue. Employing a variety of vintage metal, wood type, laser cutting, and photopolymer plates, some producers submitted two designs, which were added at random into the packs. “There is so much history and tradition in each hand-printed piece, and we wanted to honor that while also showcasing the phenomenal work that modern practitioners of the craft are producing,” co-founder Jim Coudal said.

Support Colossal by picking up a three-pack of Field Notes’ United States of Letterpress in the Colossal Shop.

 

 

 

 



Illustration Music

Become a Piano Savant with This Clever Guide to Classic Tunes by Christoph Niemann

January 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

“How to Please Elise” (2020), 16.5 x 11.8 inches, letterpress print on Gmund Colors Matt 21, 200g/m2. All images © Christoph Niemann

Your days of expensive piano lessons are over. Master the foreboding notes in Jaws, a nursery rhyme often repeated by kids, and of course,”Für Elise,” with this straightforward diagram from Christoph Niemann (previously). In his riff on Beethoven’s classic,  “How to Please Elise” provides simple instructions on how to play the first 51 notes of the German composer’s masterpiece with ease through a diagrammed sequence similar to an old-school instructional dance chart. Niemann even said on Instagram that the notes are fact-checked and accurate, so anyone attempting to follow his directions should produce the widely recognized tunes. If you want to add one these signed prints to your collection, though, you should hurry: Niemann only printed 100.

 

 



Design Illustration

An Elegant 2017 Letterpress Lunar Calendar by Alec Thibodeau

November 10, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Designer Alec Thibodeau just unveiled his newest letterpress-printed lunar calendar design for 2017. The calendar is calibrated for the Eastern time zone but is accurate to within a day for anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. The piece was designed, drawn, and printed in Providence, Rhode Island with help from DWRI Letterpress. Limited edition prints are available through Thibodeau’s website. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

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